MCZMA rap for Thane civic body over mangroves

Published on Jun 21, 2021 11:40 PM IST
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has rapped the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and district collector for inaction on complaints of mangrove destruction in Mouje Kopari village
HT Image
HT Image
ByPrayag Arora-Desai, Mumbai

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has rapped the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) and district collector for inaction on complaints of mangrove destruction in Mouje Kopari village.

In a strongly worded remark made during MCZMA’s last meeting on June 10 (the minutes of which were made public late last week), the authority expressed its displeasure at corporation and collector, warning them of punitive action.

As per the minutes, TMC (in partnership with a private real estate venture) was alleged to have buried a number of mangrove trees in Kopari village under waste and debris, on plot bearing survey number 86 in land records, last year. The move, which violates both the Coastal Regulatory Zone notification and previous orders of the Bombay high court concerning mangrove conservation, was first flagged in August 2020 by Janshakti Bahuuddeshiya Sanstha, a non-profit operating across Maharashtra in the fields of environment and agriculture.

The sanstha has since continued to draw attention to the recurring violations on three different occasions, writing to MCMZA in October, November and December last year. Taking note of these complaints, MCZMA itself wrote to TMC on at least five different occasions between September 2020 and January 2021, instructing the latter to take appropriate action in the matter and submit a formal report. The mangrove cell, which was also asked to look into the matter, deferred it to the district collector “as the land does not fall under protected notified mangrove forest”.

“Despite repeated reminders and continuous follow-up with the offices of the district collector and TMC, no report is received from them... the authority expressed displeasure over the same. As last opportunity, the authority decided to direct the district coastal zone management authority and the TMC to submit the report immediately within one week, failing which necessary action would be initiated.”

When contacted, Dr Vipin Sharma, commissioner, TMC, said he would have to look up details of the specific instance before providing a comment, and he would respond with details. The commissioner had not responded to HT’s request until late on Monday. Despite efforts, Rajesh Narvekar, Thane district collector, could not be reached for a comment on Monday.

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